Baker Releases FY 2013 Proposed Budget

WI Staff | 3/22/2012, 2:45 p.m.

Last week, County Executive Rushern L. Baker III released his FY 2013 Proposed Operating and Capital Budgets. Under the theme "Vision. Focus. Results." Baker presented a budget constructed under a new vision and mission for the Prince George's County government he said addresses his nine priority areas of focus: A Thriving Economy, An Excellent Education System, Safe Neighborhoods, Quality Healthcare, Effective Human Services, Assistance to Those in Need, A Clean and Sustainable Environment, and High Performance Government Operations.

The $3.19 billion operating budget reflects a modest growth of 0.9 percent over the FY 2012 Approved Operating Budget and closes a $126 million general fund budget deficit.

"The FY 2013 budget process was about looking at our government operations through a different prism. Three words seemed to dominate our discussions during this process - Vision, Focus and Results. These words guided our thinking and enabled us to create the framework for our budget," Baker said. " I asked my leadership team to take a close look at how we are allocating our resources to operate this government. We worked with our agencies and developed a vision and mission for County government that served as the foundation for our budget and the activities it supports. Our vision and mission helped us create a budget with a common theme of making this County better for residents, businesses and visitors."

The Baker Administration Vision for the Prince George's County government is:

"Prince George's County is a nationally recognized jurisdiction that will be a leader in the Washington Metropolitan Region because of our thriving economy, great schools, safe neighborhoods, and high quality healthcare. We will govern with policies and practices that are innovative, results oriented, and sustainable. Residents and businesses will know that this is one of the best places to live, invest, work, and visit."

The Baker Administration Mission for the Prince George's County government is:

"To transform the quality of life for our residents, visitors and businesses by providing excellent services that achieve high levels of customer satisfaction through integrity, accountability and convenience."

"Developing this budget was a challenging process, but it created an opportunity for us to rethink how we do business. We broke down silos and started communicating differently, which enabled us to identify new ways to approach problems," said Baker.

Highlights of the FY 2013 General Fund budget include:

* Expanded efforts to grow our local economy through additional investments in the Economic Development Incentive (EDI) Fund

* Enhanced efforts to make our neighborhoods safer by adding 150 new police recruits and 50 new fire/EMS recruits

* Significantly increased the staffing levels in the State's Attorney's Office by adding 16 new PGC funded positions

* Continued our progress towards a new healthcare system

* Exceeded maintenance of effort funding levels by $21 million for our school system

* Maintained prudent and sound fiscal management practices, including the maintenance of sufficient reserve balances

* Provided one-time bonuses to PGC employees

* Balanced the budget without furloughs or layoffs

However, in order to preserve critical investments, the budget contains a proposed increase in the recordation tax rate of 50 cents per $500 in transaction. PGC officials said this increase will generate $5 million in FY 2013 and will not provide MERIT/COLA increases to PGC employees, but will include 5 percent cuts across all non-public safety or education departments.

"I am convinced that by making critical investments expand our economy, improve our schools, promote safe neighborhoods, provide high-quality healthcare, preserve and protect our environment, and govern with innovative and results-oriented policies, we will achieve our vision of being one of the best places to live, invest, work and visit," Baker said. " We will continue to move our County forward."

More details about the County Executive FY 2013 Proposed Budget can be found on the homepage of the PGC website at http://www.princegeorgesmd.gov.

Adhering to the Prince George's County Charter, the FY 2013 Proposed Budget was submitted by March 15, 2012 to the Prince George's County Council. The Prince George's County Council must approve the FY 2013 Proposed Budget by June 1, 2012.